An Ethiopian refugee is seen at the Um Rakuba refugee camp which houses Ethiopian refugees fleeing the fighting in the Tigray region, on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, Sudan, November 28, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
The head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Sunday he hoped humanitarian access to Ethiopia's northern Tigray region would be granted soon by the Ethiopian authorities.
"It is not possible yet, so I hope it will develop in the next few days," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told an online news conference from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and nearly 44,000 have fled to Sudan since the fighting in Tigray began on Nov. 4.
Details about the situation in the conflict zone have been difficult to obtain as phone and internet links to Tigray have been down and access tightly controlled since fighting began.
The conflict presents a new test for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office two years ago and is trying to hold together a patchwork of ethnic groups that make up Ethiopia's 115 million people.
Grandi said the UNHCR had appealed to donors for $147 million, which would be enough to cover the needs of 100,000 people for a period of six months.